The Art of War: A Look Back at 10 Important Works That Took on the Conflict in Iraq
December 16, 2011 | Source: Monroe Gallery of Photography
Every newspaper and news report has been filled with stories about the "end" of the Iraq War. Artinfo.com has compiled a list of "what seem to us to be the most notable examples" of art dealing with the war.
Courtesy the artist and Jen Bekman projects
Nina Berman's "Ty with gun," 2009, from "Marine Wedding," 2006/2008, pigment print
Iraq's future remains unclear, but whatever happens, the effects of the war are likely to remain with us for a long time. No work illustrates this more clearly than photographer Nina Berman's "Marine Wedding" series (memorably seen in the 2009 Whitney Biennial as well as in the recent Dublin Contemporary in Ireland) documenting the marriage of former Marine sergeant Ty Ziegel to his high school sweetheart, Renee Kline. Ziegel was wounded in a suicide bomber's attack in Iraq, leaving him terribly disfigured. Employing a straightforward and unflinching documentary aesthetic, Berman's photos show him simply trying to live his life despite his horrible scars, driving his truck, walking his dog, or posing in uniform with his bride — who looks hauntingly lost — for a wedding portrait (the two divorced after a year). Though bordering on the exploitative, Berman's work offers disturbing testimony to the way the Iraq War has torn through people's lives, and how its affects are liable to be with us for a long, long time.
Related: Nina Berman's Blog: Remember the Iraq War
Selections from "Marine Wedding" featured in the exhibition "History's Big Picture"